Five minutes with Ghanim Al Sulaiti
Written by Heba Hashem
Ghanim Al Sulaiti’s decision to go vegan three years ago led him to open Qatar’s first vegan café with Qatari wellness entrepreneur Jawahir Al Fardan. But for the 24-year-old tunnel engineer and co-founder of Evergreen Organics, this is just the beginning.
What compelled you to go vegan?
I’ve always been healthy. In 2006, I stopped drinking soda; a few years later, I quit fast food. I guess studying in the US gave me exposure to different diets, cultures, and habits. I remember watching TV and an author was talking about how food can change the way we look and our mood. It had never occurred to me that food could have such an impact. I always saw it as a fuel; something that will keep you alive.
So, I got the book, and it talked about living on a vegan, dairy-free diet. It seemed impossible, but I decided to try it. I slowly cut out animal products and focused on a plant-based diet. Eventually, I woke up one day and realised I hadn’t eaten meat or dairy for three months and decided to try it for a year, and have never looked back.
How did that change you?
I’m a different person today because of the food I eat. I learnt how to prepare my own food, started reading labels, and became more conscious. I now question everything that goes into my body. It changed my mindset, the clothes that I wear, the way I interacted with the world. I feel this message needs to be shared. We didn’t have the option when we were kids to try something else – we were taught that we couldn’t live without meat. I want to show people that there is another choice.
Tell us more about Evergreen Organics.
Evergreen offers one of the healthiest, most nutritious menus in Qatar. It’s about consciously sourced, well-chosen organic ingredients. We serve food and juice cleanses all day, have a whole food section, and run weekly workshops about healthy eating and veganism. Everything in the café is eco-friendly; the furniture is made from recycled and reclaimed wood, the lights from bamboo and coconut wood, and the packaging is biodegradable. We have about 500 plants that create an atmosphere full of oxygen, and we’re close to the beach on Qanat Quartier, The Pearl Qatar. I’m currently in the process of establishing an ethically sourced vegan skincare line called Botany that will make a real difference in the market.
Is there a special place that inspires you?
Bali is where I got my inspiration for Evergreen. Another place is Ibiza; although it’s known for its parties, the organic farming there had a huge impact on me. Travelling enriches my life. I want to keep exploring new lands, new solutions, and new foods, and keep that passion in me to learn more.
Follow Ghanim on Instagram: @ghanim92